Like being trapped in an elevator
March 29, Jekyll Island
For the last few days, the weather has been very poor and more importantly, the winds have come from the North. It’s a really good thing that I got to Jekyll Island before this cold front hit the coast. I am thankful that I am comfortably settled in a relatively inexpensive campground. I also appreciate having full wifi and cable access in the recreation room. It beats being stuck on some unnamed and exposed beach worrying about hypothermia and eating the food reserves I keep just in case I’m trapped somewhere for long. If I got jammed really badly, I’d start with the dried meals then work my way down to white rice, oat meal, potato flakes, and other unsavory calories. I could last a month on my extra food stocks but the water would last me only a few days even if I ration it to a liter a day.
Although I’m not in any danger or even mildly uncomfortable, I feel like I’m stuck in an elevator. Every day, I look at the weather info to find some sort of window, a little break, a favorable wind. All I see are storm and hail warnings. Then I go to the beach to see for myself and the water is like milk chocolate with Aka Seltzer in it. Today there was a thick line of foam on the shore and the ocean spray forced me to keep my camera in its bag.
Other than that, Jekyll island is splendid and the people here are southern gentlemen. Everyone is very polite, the houses and the land are well kept. This is no real surprise if one considers the economic affluence of the residents but someone told me that the island gets money from the state to help keep it beautiful because of it’s historical importance.
The island’s claim for historical significance is not based solely on the fact that great American families that included Goodyear, JP Morgan and Rockefeller, created a commune of super wealthy people at the island’s entrance. They built a bunch of summer cottages of reasonable size, which is very surprising if one considers the sort of excesses that were going on in St-Augustine and Newport Rhode Island at the same time. These cottages are kept like shrines and the residents have put plaques everywhere with wildly uninteresting comments such as the Rockefellers summered here in 1917.
The island true historical moment was in 1910. That’s when senator Aldrich confined 5 men whose fortunes represented a quarter of the world’s wealth, to come up with a scientific currency system for the United States. According to some historians, this makes Jekyll Island the birthplace of the American Federal Reserve System. It feels ironic to be here just as Tea party for reasons that are only known to them, are suggesting going back to the gold standard. This would mean that the value of the American dollar would swing as fast as the value of gold. Gold’s value is unstable because it is a metal that we take out of the earth in unpredictable quantities and it is also wildly dependent on speculators actions. Many other standards could have been suggested since gold’s value has very little importance in modern economies but I guess that gold must render some people silly. In my opinion, it’s the best and undeniable example of just how misguided the Tea Party is. That suggestion is epically stupid and it would force even the most rabid populist republicans to reconsider the importance of basic education in a democracy if they ever thought that hard.